Trip Report April 3-17, Long


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Escrito por Couple of Canucks desde 131.232.8.221 (inded2.elc.athabascau.ca) el día jueves, 21 de abril, 2005 a las 13:57:27 horas :

Trip Report April 3-17th
Our second trip to Zihua

TRAVEL FROM CANADA

We took an Air Transat charter flight from Canada (originating in Edmonton, picking up passengers in Calgary, and arriving in Zihua after six hours). The flight was uneventful and the charter plane was from the
Westjet fleet and had 10 satellite channels in each headrest. Small planefood meal could not diminish our excitement for travel. The flight was about 2/3s full and most every row had an extra seat.

ARRIVAL / TAXIS

We were hit hard by the timeshares salesmen. We walked by them and directly to the taxi stand, where we were offered the monopolistic
$25.50 price for a ride to our hotel on Madera.

ACCOMMODATIONS

We are shopping for a place to visit yearly. Last year we visited the Barcelo, the Presidente and the Hotel Las Palmas. Hotel Las Palmas won our hearts by a mile.

This year we stayed at or visited regularly the Quinta don Andres, Irma and Las Brisas Ixtapa. We are at a draw for the Irma and Quinta don Andres.

_Irma_

We liked the view, the staff, the accessibility of a bar and restaurant
and the plain but clean rooms. Rooms were comfortable and quiet (except for the air conditioners and shared balconies). Plenty of storage. The air conditioning was good. The food was fine. The drinks were strong and
plentiful and 2x1 at happy hour. People have reported on this repeatedly on the board and most of the reviews and commentary we have mirrors heir experience. Would like to make note that the bar staff gave us bags of ice and that we borrowed Stew’s cooler from the front desk for beers in the room and on the beach. TVs in the room. Jacuzzi not working. The rooms have safes.

_Quinta don Andres_

We loved the view, the staff, the quiet, and the cleanliness of this place. Rooms were comfortable and quiet, if sparsely furnished. The view was exceptional and access to the beach and MJ Ritchies was very easy.
The walk to downtown was an easy one. The walk to La Ropa was not easy, but was lovely and worthwhile.

Many of the rooms have air conditioners and kitchenettes, which we used a lot. No bugs at all. Immaculate housekeeping and kind front desk staff. A cooler at the front with drinks and water for sale for 8 pesos.

The pool was small and pretty cloudy, we never used it – and we are pool people. We did miss ready access to a restaurant and bar, but really did save a great deal of time and money by stocking up our fridge from the
Commercial Mexican ($2.50 from our hotel) and eating in once in a while.

_Las Brisas Ixtapa_

What can we say about our gilded birdcage? Our velvet prison? First off, the locat1on and patios are beautiful. We chose to be secluded on this portion of the trip as it was our honeymoon. That being said, we came to the mathematical formula that best describes our experience:

Seclusion + Exclusivity (Mexico) = Holiday Anywhere Hot

We blanded our own experience and while restful, are aware that the time we spent at the Irma and the Quinta don Andres were preferable to us. It felt friendlier, more welcoming, filled with possibility and beauty.

None of this is meant to detract from the Las Brisas. We just used our travels to determine that we are not all-inclusive travelers. In staying here, we lost Mexico (other than the relationships we developed with staff).
We could have been on any beach in any tropical locat1on.

We did have the AAI (almost all inclusive) plan sold by World of Vacations. This meant that we could drink for free until 5 and that all meals were included. We did not drink, excepting one afternoon at the lobby bar. The drinks were fine, the service good and the place filled principally with American tourists.

The food was really, really good and our dining experience enhanced by our fine food guide Moises. Moises worked at the Italian and Mexican restaurants at the hotel (which switched back and forth day by day). He
cooked for us at our table and bantered with us every day and he made the dining experience much better for his good company.

We have no complaints, NONE, about the food, the service or the quality of our dining, snacking and drinking experience (no one complains in the velvet prison).

Several people have noted the sparse rooms. We didn’t feel that way. Perhaps it is the result of a cost – provision ratio, but we found that the two chairs, mini-bar, storage, bathroom, appointment, color scheme
and set up of the rooms entirely to our liking. What I would tell people is that we were _really happy _with our selection of an 18th floor room. It was on the same floor as the hotel lobby, all of the amenities and had easy access to the gym, spa and restaurants. We felt less trapped than we would have if we were on the 10th floor or 20th floor (requiring an elevator to anyplace).

Sunsets from our rooms were exquisite. But, then again, they were exquisite from every place we went.

ACCESSIBILITY

There are access restrictions on both the Irma and the Quinta don Andres. Neither would be suitable for someone wanting pool, room or
beach access. Those with wheelchairs or an inability to take stairs would find themselves unable to access the pools and beach. Those with limited mobility should be able to reach the pools but potentially not
the beach as there are a number of stairs.

The Las Brisas has some accessibility to pool (via a ride from lobby) but there are steps to get to the beach – no matter which route you take. Those with wheelchairs or an inability to take stairs would find
themselves unable to access the pools or beach. Others with limited mobility should be able to access the pools and the beach with some effort and assistance.

BEACHES

_Madera___

We swam on Madera beach and had opportunity to see the “eel / snake” that people have been talking about. I have no opinion but do note it was creepy and that I was chicken enough not to swim at madera after that. Many boats (including the cruise ships), some parasails and a few seadoos. Can walk out for a very long way and is quite suitable for children. Madera beach was pretty multi-cultural and very lively, while not too busy or noisy.

_Hermosa_

Huge waves, some dipping, no swimming. Red flags every day. Gorgeous vista. Small and intimate. Many beach chairs at hotel and few people concerned about anything but relaxation. No parasails, no boats, no
seadoos. Gets deep fast and not suitable for children.

RESTAURANTS

_Daniels_

We tried and loved the spinach stuffed fish and the Princessa salad at Daniels. The meal was priced comparable to a Canadian dinner out. The coffee was great, the staff friendly and the food of really good quality. One couple we met ate there every day for dinner and loved it.

The staff rewarded their patronage and encouraged them to return with lots of drinks.

_MJ Ritchies_

We were not sure who owned it when we got there, but the service was efficient and friendly and the food was plain but good. They do not have fish tacos, but the chicken tacos ($3), quesadilla, hamburgers, and club
sandwiches were cheap, plentiful and good. We had the guacamole and it was the second best plate we had in Zihua.

_Irma_

The food was, to my mind, good and a bit overpriced. Food is so subjective – it is hard to know if what one person believes about it will matter to you. I can state that the quality was always good, the ingredients fresh, and the meals were plain good food. We tried the carne and Mexican meal (good bargain for $7), the guacamole (best I had
in Zihua), garlic shrimps and steak (not on the menu, but prepared for $20), mango shrimp, clubhouse sandwich (okay, okay, my husband will only eat white bread in every country we travel to), the fish tacos ($4),
beef fajitas, and hamburgers. All were just right.

_Coconuts_

We tried the guacamole, coconut shrimp, cucumber soup, salad and red snapper. The cucumber soup was superior and reasonably priced. In our opinion, the other dishes – while beautiful and artful in presentation –
were overpriced. The coconut shrimp was not what we had hoped, but might hit the spot on another day. With three shrimp at $16 US we did feel it was not a worthwhile meal for us.

_Atoles Any_

The food here was cheap, good and plentiful. We tried the pozole, guacamole, breakfasts, enchiladas and a few other treats and found them flavourful and affordable.

_Bananas_

I should say, at the outset that the food was cheap (breakfast and commida corrida) but that it was not plentiful or flavourful. We likened it to fast food and enjoyed it for what it was.

_Las Brisas Ixtapa – Portofina_

Exceptional service (yay Moises!) We tried all of the soups and salads, the lobster and salmon fettucine, the steaks and the squid. Very, very good. The Caesar salad prepared at your table is memorable and flavourful. The steaks too big to finish and prepared to your liking.

Coffee is good and we were the only people in the place on a few nights!

_Las Brisas Ixtapa – Mexicana_

Exceptional service (yay Moises!) The salads here were really good. The shrimp with peanut sauce was okay, the soups really good and the three meat and seafood dishes were quite good (although for some reason, not as memorable as the Italian place).

_Las Brisas Ixtapa – Beach Snack_

Exceptional service. Good snack food. We tried the whole menu and found it of really good quality, tasty and filling.

_Ruebens – Ixtapa_

We had to go as we had such a great meal there last year. While it did not disappoint, it did not live up to the memory. The staff is so kind and considerate and the food is plentiful. If not memorable, it was filling and affordable.

_La Perla_

The staff was, as they have always been for us, accommodating, professional and prompt. The fish tacos are no longer fried, so we tried some good chicken tacos. The drinks were plentiful and really good (pina
coladas were especially good here). The seafood soup was really good, and the clubhouse (I know, I know) was plain.

The bathrooms and roof have both been re-done and are quite nice now. We have always had the sense that we can be left alone, retain our privacy and still have good wait service while at La Perla. In some places in Zihua, we are catered to like an Applebee’s in Canada, and that is not our preference. We like to sit quietly, for hours and still know that when we want service we can ask for it and it will be professional and prompt. La Perla has let us decide the level of service. Whenever we mentioned to our hosts or other Mexican citizens that we met that we were going to La Perla for the day, it was like it was an instant social “in” for us. All had been there, some went weekly, and others went there for a treat. Cab drivers spoke really highly of the place and were greeted warmly by and met with Francisco on occasion of some of our arrivals and departures.

We liked it before and like it now.

MISCELLANEOUS

_Wedding_

We met with a couple wedding planners and scoped a few locat1ons and decided to get married on La Ropa by Franciso (owner of La Perla). We decided to go with him after he met us at our hotel and we discussed both his family and our families in the context of relationships with community and our understandings of the importance of family and community. Having no relationship with him and only the knowledge from this board, I was impressed by his humility and kindness (I will no longer believe everything I read, and will have to experience things myself to assess them). At the service, his words were eloquent and sweet, his conduction of the service professional and elegant, the
photography beautiful. I should note the professionalism of the service – we got married on a Thursday, received our license on the spot, and got a cd-rom of colour photos set to music and a portfolio of black and white photos in an album by Saturday morning.

We were pretty nonchalant about getting married, but the loveliness of Francisco’s presence, the beauty of the site, and the great pictures and interaction we had with his staff and family made it a lovely and memorable day.




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